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Sedona Red Recap: D-backs offense comes up short in loss to Rockies

Arizona Diamondbacks A.J. Pollock (11) steals third during the fifth inning as Colorado Rockies' Nolan Arenado applies the tag, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 28, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX, Ariz. — The goal of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and any team really, is to be playing meaningful games in September, and on into October. That’s still four months away, however.

Until then this will have to do: A three-game weekend set with second-place Colorado.

And for game one, advantage visitors.

The Rockies leapfrogged the D-backs into first place in the National League West with a 3-1 series-opening win in front of 19,300 at Chase Field on Friday.

Rookie Kyle Freeland outdueled Robbie Ray in a battle of left-handers.

Each pitched six innings with Ray working into the seventh.

Freeland (3-1) won his second straight start, limiting the D-backs to the one run on six hits. The one run, a Paul Goldschmidt RBI single, marked their fewest scored on the current 10-game homestand; and only the third time they’ve scored less than four runs at home this season.

Though credited with a quality start, Ray (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season, allowing three runs on five hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in 6.2 innings.

Trevor Story homered, while Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon, who has a 12-game hitting streak, both added RBI.

The D-backs had been undefeated with Ray on the mound this year prior to Friday’s game.

The Rockies snapped a three-game losing streak, beating the D-backs for the first time in their last six tries.

THE GOOD

A pair of streaks continued for Goldschmidt. His first-inning nine-pitch walk extended his run of reaching base safely against the Rockies at Chase Field to 31 consecutive games, the longest home streak in team history against one opponent. Two innings later, he singled to center, extending his hitting streak to nine straight games, and more importantly, trimmed the Colorado lead in half, 2-1, with two outs in the third.

On base three times in four plate appearances, A.J. Pollock is batting .447 (21-for-47) with five doubles, one home run, three RBI, 12 runs scored and eight stolen bases in his last 11 games. Overall, Pollock is second on the team in runs scored (19) and first in stolen bases (nine, including six in the last five games). Twice he stole third base, in the fifth and seventh innings, but was left stranded 90-feet from home plate.

THE BAD

Ten pitches to record two outs and then Ray needed an additional 15 for the final out in the first inning. In-between, he allowed a run on two hits and a walk. It was Gonzalez, the one-time D-backs prospect, who drove in the run, grounding a 95-mph fastball up the middle to score Nolan Arenado from second base for a 1-0 Colorado lead.

Six of Story’s nine career hits at Chase Field are home runs. The sixth happened with one out in the third inning when he smashed a 94-mph fastball into the seats just to the right of the batter’s eye in straightaway center field to make it a 2-0 Colorado lead. It was Story’s fifth home run overall this season, tied for second-most on the team.

There are walks, and then there are leadoff walks. Ray walked the leadoff batter to begin the seventh inning and three batters later the runner scored. Pat Valaika was sacrificed to second, took third on a fly ball to center field and then touched home plate when Blackmon singled to left past a diving Daniel Descalso for a 3-1 Colorado lead.

STAT OF THE GAME

13: The number of career RBI for Story at Chase Field after his third-inning solo home run

HE SAID IT

“Offensively, we couldn’t piece things together, we couldn’t string a bunch of hits together, which we’ve typically done,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “Sometimes they make it look so easy that when they don’t get it done you forget how hard it is.”

NOTED

Ray threw a first-pitch strike to 16-of-28 batters faced; in addition, he reached a three-ball count to five total batters.

Chris Owings finished 1-for-3 with a walk, and he is now batting .391 (9-for-23) with 12 RBI in his last seven games.

David Peralta’s second-inning base hit was overturned after video replay showed Blackmon made the sliding catch.

D-backs and Rockies met as the division’s top two teams for the first time in four years, July 7, 2013 at Chase Field.

With a first-pitch temperature of 79 degrees and windy conditions outside, the game was played with the roof closed.

UP NEXT

For the sixth time this month, Zack Greinke will take the mound. It’s his turn in the rotation, and he gets handed the ball in game two of the three-game series on Saturday, April 29. Greinke will be matched up with left-hander Tyler Anderson. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

Greinke (2-2) won his last start, 7-6 against the Padres, tossing six innings allowing one run on six hits with a season-best 11 strikeouts and no walks. Three times already this season he’s held opponents to just a single run.

Greinke is 7-4 with a 4.09 ERA in 19 career starts facing the Rockies.

Meanwhile, Anderson (1-3) is winless in his past four outings, including a 5.2-inning effort with four runs allowed on six hits against the Nationals in his most recent appearance, the fourth time in five starts he’s surrendered at least four earned runs.

Anderson faced the D-backs twice last season, yet did not factor in either decision.

Overall, Anderson’s road numbers are not good: 1-6 with a 5.29 ERA in 10 career starts away from home.

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